[THE BRITISH COUNCIL CHRISTCHURCH SCHOLARSHIP – MASSEY UNIVERSITY]
competition entry 08-2012 * AMONG TOP TEN FINALISTS *
The proposal is a mixed-used urban renewal project. It evolved from a material investigation into the properties of local wind conditions, with a particular focus on the use of shelterbelts to mitigate and reduce wind. Initial design investigations into different levels of porosity were studied to see how they affected air flow. Of particular interest, was the contrast between high wind and low wind areas and the affect these have on human perception. These study informed the building concept, which is create a building that operates similar to as a shelterbelt for the city. This is done through: locating the separate buildings on the site in a linear fashion yet oriented to mitigate the predominate winds; shaping each of the buildings to direct wind away from public areas; and selecting materials to allow for a comfortable natural air flow.
The site for the proposal is Poplar Lane and the surrounding block. Site connections and circulation through the site formed the basis for the initial massing. The first massing concept left a negative space where there were circulation routes. This was then inverted to allow the built form to occupy the circulation routes and direct wind through the site.
Programmatically the intention is to integrate public and private and look at the threshold between these different programs. In order to do this the planning of the buildings is focussed on enhancing connections between public and private. The idea of porosity was also incorporated into the thresholds between these spaces with permeable surfaces that allow light, noise and smells to filter through.
It is also important to respect the heritage of Poplar Lane; this was done by patterning the rain screen in a manner that was sympathetic to the brick buildings that used to occupy the site.